Last week the March sown Gardener’s World tomatoes were ready to plant out. What did I learn:
- Ensure the plants are moist before planting out
- Flowers appear – the time to plant out has arrived
- Before planting out pinch out any side shoots from the base of the plant
- Plant up to the top of the root ball ( I plant deeper than this but GW tomato methodology incorporates ring culture which provides for deep planting but in a different way)
- Did you know tomato roots have different functions? I’m not sure I’d previously grasped this concept but it seems to go something like this:
Shallow roots, nearer to the soil surface, specialise in taking in nutrients
Deeper roots, work down through the soil to hunt for moisture
Encouraging an abundance of shallow roots – the purpose of ring culture – will boost the plant’s productivity as it will be able to take on a greater quantity of nutrients
- The steps to follow include popping a bottom-less pot over the plant and within the confines of that pot earthing up (piling up compost) around the stem by a couple of cms and continue to do this every week until the pot is almost full
- Recommended for the greenhouse: Rosado. Reason – it’s thin skinned and sun through the glass thickens skin. I assume this is in contrast to growing a naturally thicker of skin variety under glass and ending up with tomato hide ?!
- Recommended for outdoors: Go for early varieties. Red Alert, Gardeners Delight, Russian or Eastern Bloc varieties, Black Russian and Koralik which is especially blight resistant.
I’m not sure I want to splash out on special ring culture paraphanalia but if I can find some cheap and cheerful pots to mutilate then I’ll be giving it a go.
Oh – and the GW verdict on the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter “got my doubts” - however they have planted one up so we can see how they get on.